If the Easter bunny delivers lots of chocolate treats to you this year, remember to make sure your dog doesn’t get it’s paws on any of it, says the charity Medical Detection Dogs.

Chocolate is poisonous to dogs and can make them seriously ill, even proving fatal.

It contains chemicals which dogs can’t digest as well as humans and they build up to toxic levels in their system.

But you can still satisfy your canine family member’s sweet tooth with more suitable treats, the charity says.

Carob treats are the dog alternative to chocolate and other dog-friendly indulgences include smoked bones, rawhide chews and good quality dog treats.

Chris Allen, Socialising and Puppy Supply Manager at Medical Detection Dogs says: “If you’re enjoying your chocolate eggs and have some big, sad eyes watching your every move longingly, please don’t be tempted to give your dog even the smallest piece of chocolate as it could make them really unwell.

“Chewing on a piece of rawhide, jerky, biscuit or fruit will be just as tasty to your dog if it’s a treat they don’t have all the time and will distract them from what you’re munching on!”

If you suspect your dogs has ingested chocolate immediatelycontact your vet giving as much information as possible, including weight of dog and type of chocolate eaten. They will advise on the most appropriate treatment and want to examine a dog as soon as possible if a suspected toxic amount has been ingested.

Generally speaking, the darker the chocolate the more chemical – theobromine – it contains and therefore the more toxic it is.
Even white chocolate is fatty and can make your dog ill and chocolate wrappers can cause intestinal obstruction.
Symptoms depend on the amount and type of chocolate eaten and the weight of the dog. They can take between 4 and 24 hours to develop and last for several days.

Initial signs are vomiting, diarrhoea and increased thirst but these can lead to restlessness, muscle twitching, racing heart rate, tremors and fitting. In older pets or those with existing heart problems cardiac arrest can occur.

Medical Detection Dogs uses the amazing power of the dog’s nose to detect human diseases.

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